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Saturday, June 13, 2020

Unemployment rises to 30.5% in the south of Tenerife after three months of alarm

Clouds over Adeje Photo by jose luis navarro from FreeImages

Adeje, after the ‘tourist zero’, has gone from being the municipality with the lowest unemployment (8%) to leading the demand for work (38.8%)

It isn't easy to discover the exact number of unemployed by municipalities, as the Canary Islands Statistics Institute (ISTAC) publishes figures by region and the Canary Observatory of Employment (OBECAN) does so by job demand, including everyone 16 to 65 years who is in a position to work and does not, many of whom are still in education.

Through these two sources, what is evident is that the last three months - March, April and May - have caused a considerable setback for employment in the Canary Islands and very particularly for those areas that depend on tourism, as in the south of Tenerife, where the percentage of job seekers reaches 30.5%, although ISTAC's figures, in the regions of Abona and the South West, show an unemployed percentage of 19.40%.

The state of alarm, with the closure of companies and, above all, with the 'zero tourist', has caused a real collapse of employment in municipalities such as Arona, Adeje, Guía de Isora and Santiago del Teide, together with the fact that these months are considered as “low season”, when there are fewer tourists and when temporary contracts end.

To take an official example, in May in the Canary Islands public employment services (SEPE), registered unemployment increased by 6,093 people, 2.4%, a variation that brings the number of unemployed people in the Canary Islands to 261,074.

Unemployment in the islands registers an interannual increase of 26.71%, a situation that has affected 55,033 people between May 2019 and the fifth month of this year. The number of unemployed in the Tenerife province, at the end of May, was 124,612 people, not counting those workers who are or have been in an ERTE (furlough).

The unemployment figures - or job seeker numbers - have experienced a considerable increase where areas rely on tourism, while the other municipalities from Arico to Candelaria have better resisted the economic consequences of the Covid-19.

Adeje Council trusts that this is a conjunctural situation as a result of the crisis that the pandemic has generated. “An example of this is that after two really tragic months in the destruction of employment, in May the data, even if bad, have tended to stabilize and slow down significantly. Employment is no longer being destroyed at the March or April level. This helps us to think that the recovery of employment will take place little by little ”. But in the face of a crisis that has led to a zero tourism, the situation has been reversed and all tourist municipalities have gone from being leaders in job creation to being generators of unemployment. Measures are being taken to counter this situation, with a 270% increase in investment to stop this fall, advise for workers, creation of training and employment programs, help for SMEs and the self-employed, among others.

From Arona, which has gone from 7,296 jobseekers to 11,318, it is clear that the relationship between 'tourism zero' in recent months and the destruction of employment has been direct in the municipalities that, like Arona, have their main industry in this sector. However, it is true that these are the ones that, when tourism is going well, create jobs at a higher rate. “At the beginning of the crisis caused by the coronavirus, the forecast was that recovery would not begin until the last quarter of the year, while, at the moment, we already have this occurring from the month of July, which is positive news ”. To reverse the situation, Arona has launched a two-pronged attack. The first, at the beginning of the economic effects of the pandemic, focused on generating a strong social shield with measures such as doubling the capacity to respond to requests for social aid. The second has been to approve a 1.2 million euro aid scheme for the self-employed and micro-SMEs.

The councilor of the Employment and Local Development Agency (AEDL) of Granadilla de Abona, Yanira González, explains that the health crisis due to Covid-19 has caused that in recent months there has been a "very relevant" increase in the number unemployed in the municipality, which currently registers a total of 6,838 unemployed people; 221 people more than the previous month and 2,455 more than in the same month in 2019. This is caused by the stoppage of activity in the hotel establishments of the south, in addition to trade and restaurants being closed, but in this municipality, especially, is linked to closures in the service sector [airport], which has affected 2,553 people who are currently unemployed. Faced with this situation, different mechanisms for economic reactivation are being implemented by Granadilla Council, including direct subsidies to the self-employed and small companies, to the taxi sector and to the primary sector.